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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Presents - A Summerslam Preview Spectacular - Part II: The Pre Show
By Dave Fenichel
Aug 13, 2017 - 10:30:38 AM

Hi kids.

Yesterday, I kicked off my Summerslam Preview Spectacular by detailing why I was looking forward to NXT Takeover Brooklyn. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the three matches that I expect to land on the Pre Show of Summerslam.

Don’t get me wrong. Even the most optimistic wrestling fan like myself doesn’t normally get excited about the Pre Show for WWE PPVs. By definition, matches end up on the preshow because they lack the fan interest to be on the main card.

It is a different situation with the Pre Show for the big events. Even with four hours of main card time, there simply isn’t enough space for all of the quality storylines that the WWE builds for their top PPVs. As a result, you end up with tremendous quality on the Pre Show that you don’t normally see at other times of the year.

Summerslam’s Pre Show isn’t any different. I’m predicting an 11 match main card and a 3 match preshow. I think all three of the preshow matches bring something to the table that’s worthwhile.

Question of the Day: Do you watch the preshow more when it contains quality matches, or when the WWE spends more time on analysis and hype from the commentators?

The Eternal Optimist Presents: A Summerslam Preview Spectacular Part II: The Pre Show

The Bullet Club v The Hardy Boyz

The Hardy’s most recent run has been incredible. Their return at Wrestlemania 33 marked the best moment of the night. The ladder match that followed was spectacular. I thought that their entire title run was excellent. Their feud with Shesaro was solid. I enjoyed every PPV match that they had, especially the 30 minute Iron Man match last month.

I would have been perfectly fine with the WWE doing a blow off match between the two teams at Summerslam. Given the direction that the WWE chose to go in with the Raw tag titles, I can’t fault them one bit. More on that much later on in the week.

I knew that the WWE wouldn’t have a huge act like the Hardy Boyz sit on the sidelines for the second biggest PPV of the year. I was head over heels for the three way feud they started with The Revival and The Bullet Club. The Revival are simply fantastic in-ring workers, the exact type of team that could thrive and be elevated tremendously by working with The Hardy Boyz. The Bullet Club have been underrated and underused during their WWE tenure, so it was nice to see them being given an opportunity to shine as well.

The match definitely took a hit with the Revival’s injury, but I’m still interested. I’ll watch pretty much anything that The Hardy’s are involved in, and I think the Bullet Club are more than worthy adversaries. Much like the Wrestlemania pre-show was able to benefit from the star power of Dean Ambrose, the Summerslam pre-show will benefit from the inclusion of the Hardy Boyz. I am expecting a rock solid match, a showcase win for the Hardy Boyz, and a crowd that is amped up immediately as a result.

Raw Women’s Title Match: Alexa Bliss v Sasha Banks/Nia Jax

I’m not 100% certain that this ends up on the pre-show. I think only one of the Women’s matches makes the main card this year. I’d generally defer to Raw as being given the better slot, but I think that the circumstances surrounding the Smackdown Women’s Title match and likely outcome dictate that it gets the nod this year.

Even though I’m not a Bayley fan and my initial gut reaction was that it didn’t make sense to revisit a feud that ultimately didn’t work, I was looking forward to seeing Alexa v Bayley at Summerslam. The writing seemed to be on the wall that we’d finally see Sasha turn on Bayley and kick off a feud that absolutely deserves to be revisited. I was expecting this to be one of the big moments at Summerslam that had people talking.

Despite my disappointment in this match not happening, I’m still looking forward to Bliss’s title defense. As of this column, we still don’t know whether it will be Sasha or Nia squaring off against her. I’m not completely ruling out the idea of a Triple Threat match. However, assuming that this stays a 1 on 1 encounter, I think either opponent provides for compelling storytelling at Summerslam.

If Sasha wins, the WWE can pick back up on the momentum that they built at Great Balls of Fire. I have to admit, Bliss and Banks really won me over that night. I wasn’t at all interested in their feud, but they delivered with an excellent match and even better aftermath. As a result, I was intrigued to see a rematch at Summerslam. The WWE decided to go in another direction. The decision was puzzling. There are rumors that Banks caused a problem backstage and was being punished as a result. Regardless of the reason to abandon this storyline, Bayley’s injury provides an opportunity to revisit a feud that was just gaining steam. I have very little doubt that Banks and Bliss can deliver a compelling match worth watching come Sunday.

On the other hand, Bliss v Nia Jaxx is the match that I had been advocating for at Summerslam for months. With Bliss being such an amazingly effective whiny heel, there isn’t a better story that can be told than her trying to hold off a monster she seemingly has no chance of defeating. I’d love to see this match go down at Summerslam. I suspect that it would consist of Bliss cowering in fear, running away from Nia and ultimately emerging victorious due to ridiculous shenanigans. This is a feud that can carry the Raw Women’s Brand for the normally slow months post-Summerslam.

Although I’m disappointed to not get the Sasha heel turn on Bayley that I have been waiting for, I think that the WWE can’t go wrong with either option they have presented us with for Alexa Bliss’s title defense at Summerslam.

Cruiserweight Title Match: Neville v Akira Tozawa

Neville has had an amazing run as Cruiserweight Champion. In fact, 205 Live as a whole has been a tremendous show for those of us who actually take the time to watch it. The storylines are interesting, the wrestling is strong and the characters are well developed. Unfortunately, because only a small portion of the audience actually watches 205 Live, these well-developed characters and strong storylines don’t translate well to Monday Night Raw.

Neville gets the lion’s share of the cruiserweight television time on Raw, and for good reason. The division gets very little time as a whole on the show, he’s great and it makes sense to focus on your champion. To an extent, Neville is a victim of his own success. He’s so good and so dominant that it’s difficult to take his current crop of challengers seriously.

Despite all of that, Akira Tozawa is an excellent choice to be his opponent at Summerslam. I’m definitely on board with The Powa of Tozawa. He has a natural charisma that shines every time he speaks and every time he’s in the ring. His “HA” chant is very over and is the type of addition that will engage the crowd during his matches.

There is plenty of reason to think that Neville will just keep trucking along and his dominant reign will continue. Conventional logic states that he will be victorious and move onto a feud with Cedric Alexander or even a new addition to the division like Enzo Amore. I’m not convinced. Tozawa is over, the Titus Brand storyline has legs and a new champion would provide freshness to a division in which the outcomes of their biggest spotlight matches have become a foregone conclusion.

Because I’m a huge fan of both men involved and because I think there is legitimate doubt as to the winner, I’m more invested in Neville v Tozawa than I have been in any other cruiserweight match in recent memory.

Final Thoughts on the Summerslam Preshow.

Much as was the case with Wrestlemania’s Pre Show, Summerslam’s preshow looks to be loaded with far more talent than most. As a result, I see three matches on the preshow that should be incredibly compelling. They each bring something different to the table, and I look forward to being in attendance live to see each go down.

That’s a wrap kids. I’ll be back tomorrow with Part III of my Summerslam Preview Spectacular: The Undercard. Thank you for reading. Sound off below!

Facebook: David Fenichel

Twitter: @FFFightLeague

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